New Mexico Becomes 18th State To Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis

New Mexico became the 18th state to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed the Cannabis Regulation Act (HB 2) into law on Monday.  New Mexico is now the fifth state to adopt a legalization policy by passing a bill through its state legislature, joining Illinois, Vermont, New York, and Virginia. Thirteen additional states have legalized by voter initiative.

According to Marijuana Policy Project, HB 2 legalizes personal possession of up to two ounces of cannabis and home cultivation of six mature plants for adults 21 and over. Additionally, HB 2 includes measures to encourage those who were disproportionately impacted by prohibition to enter the new industry. A companion bill — SB 2 — will provide for automatic expungement. Legal sales will begin no later than April 1, 2022. A summary of HB 2 is available here.

“We commend New Mexico lawmakers and advocates for ending cannabis prohibition. This move will end the injustice of criminalizing New Mexicans for a substance that is safer than alcohol. States across the country are rolling back prohibition and finding that legalizing and regulating cannabis works. This victory in New Mexico, along with the recent legalization victories in New York and Virginia, will help tip the scale towards federal cannabis reform,” said Steve Hawkins, executive director at the Marijuana Policy Project.

New Mexico Market

UltraHealth, the state’s largest MMJ operator said in a statement, “Combined patient sales from the 34 licensed producers in New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program totaled $203 million in 2020, an increase of $74 million or 57% over reported patient sales in 2019. Ultra Health, New Mexico’s #1 Cannabis Company, led all operators with nearly $40 million in patient sales, 71% greater than its nearest competitor.”

Altogether, New Mexico’s top five providers accounted for 55% of reported patient sales in 2020, an increase from 49% the previous year. The top 10 out of 34 total providers accounted for 74% of total patient sales in 2020.

2020 Revenue 2019 Revenue $ Increase % Increase
1. Ultra Health $39,522,044 $19,750,988 $19,771,056 100%
2. PurLife $23,120,494 $15,944,288 $7,176,206 45%
3. R. Greenleaf $20,978,619 $11,888,647 $9,089,972 77%
4. Pecos Valley $16,075,150 $7,338,780 $8,736,370 119%
5. Verdes $11,403,356 $8,394,441 $3,008,915 36%
Total Industry $203,471,624 $129,258,236 $74,213,388 57%


“In less than a month, the number of states that have legalized cannabis through the legislative process has more than doubled —  from two to five. While we are encouraged by this progress, we urgently call on the other 32 state legislatures to listen to their constituents and legalize cannabis. With supermajority support for legalization, it is outrageous that more than 1,000 Americans are arrested for cannabis every day,” said Matt Simon, senior legislative analyst at the Marijuana Policy Project.

NORML State Policies Manager Carly Wolf said: “This is a day to celebrate! New Mexico will greatly benefit from this new revenue stream and the creation of thousands of jobs. Most notably though, legalization will spare thousands of otherwise law-abiding residents from arrest and a criminal record, and the state’s new expungement law will help provide relief to many who are suffering from the stigma and other collateral consequences associated with a prior marijuana conviction.”

NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri added: “New Mexico joins an ever-growing list of states that have realized the failures of marijuana prohibition and the harms it brings to their communities and citizens. The American people are demanding an end to prohibitionist policies that have wreaked havoc on communities of color, squandered countless millions in taxpayer dollars, and wasted limited judicial and law enforcement resources on criminalizing otherwise law-abiding individuals for possession of a product that is objectively less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.”

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